The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), recognized four outstanding individuals with awards May 1 during AISI’s General Meeting held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The awards were presented in three categories to recognize lifetime achievement, industry leadership and market development achievement by AISI Chairman Roger Newport, chief executive officer of AK Steel Corp.  

All three award categories acknowledge lasting contributions made to advancing the competitive use of steel in the construction, automotive and packaging markets. However, they are each unique, based on these parameters: 1) individual achievements made over the course of a career (SMDI Lifetime Achievement Award), 2) contributions made by steel industry partners and customers (SMDI Industry Leadership Award), and 3) contributions made by members of the North American steel industry (SMDI Market Development Achievement Award).

The SMDI Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Paul Schurter, ArcelorMittal Dofasco (retired). For more than 20 years, Schurter was a vital member of SMDI’s automotive team, providing leadership for the Automotive Applications Council, Auto/Steel Partnership, Automotive Technical Panel, the Great Designs in Steel annual conference series, and more. He also provided technical updates to the Auto/Steel Design Manual and CARS software. He was successful in his efforts to help automakers achieve the mass reduction and performance targets of their future vehicle programs through the use of new steel grades, new design solutions, and new manufacturing technologies.  

The SMDI Industry Leadership Award for steel industry partners and customers was presented to:

  • John Cross, P.E., Vice President of Special Projects, American Institute of Steel Construction. Cross is a tireless advocate for the use of structural steel over competing materials and for the use of steel from North American mills vs. imported product. He is a frequent speaker at seminars focused on construction economics, sustainability, and building information modeling (BIM). His expertise on national model green standards and programs in the United States, messaging relative to the sustainable benefits of steel vs. wood in construction, and active participation on SMDI’s Construction Sustainability Council have contributed significantly to the long-lasting competitiveness of the steel industry.
  • Gregory S. Warden, Executive Director and Global Functional Leader, Body, Exterior, and Dimensional Engineering, GM Global Technical Center, General Motors Company.  Warden is a team leader in the application of Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS) solutions to General Motors vehicles and a strong proponent of collaboration through SMDI and its member companies. His efforts to take advantage of the properties and value of steel and apply them to GM vehicle design challenges has contributed significantly to the use of AHSS in the automotive marketplace.

The SMDI Market Development Achievement Award for members of the North American steel industry was presented to Blake Zuidema, Ph.D., Senior Director, Automotive Product Applications Division, ArcelorMittal Global R&D – East Chicago. With extensive experience in both the steel and automotive industries, Zuidema is recognized for his expertise on Life Cycle Analysis technical issues and strategic leadership on how the steel industry can meet future automotive industry challenges. Throughout his career, he has contributed technical and sustainability solutions to future vehicle design challenges. 

“We are pleased to recognize each of these award winners, whose leadership, enthusiasm and commitment to the use of steel to meet marketplace challenges have contributed to transformative changes to the construction and automotive markets, “ said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute. “We commend them and thank them for the lasting contributions they have made over the years and for the standards they have set for the next generation of automotive and construction design professionals.”